One Richmond pub owner is preparing to close his pub during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
On Tuesday, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, revealed that all bars in B.C. must close as they can't guarantee the kind of safe social distancing needed to prevent the spread of the disease.
However, she said some restaurants and cafes may be able to operate, if they can maintain social distances of 1-metre for customers and staff.
Glenn Jensen, co-owner of Legends Pub in Richmond, told the Richmond News that if they "have to change then they have to change" and will close the pub according to health authorities’ recommendations.
He has been recommending staff to not go out on Friday nights and to save their money the past couple weeks.
“A lot of people in our industry live paycheque to paycheque … and I’m not sure what might happen in the long run,” said Jensen.
A few people, he said, had to be laid off while other staff decided to quit because they didn’t want to bring the virus back home.
“We haven’t heard anything yet and they haven’t closed us down yet so we will have to see,” said Jensen.
"This morning, we even rearranged the tables so people are at least three feet away from each other," said Jensen, adding that they decreased the number of tables from 50 to 20 to accommodate the maximum 50 people rule that Henry announced on Monday.
"We also tell people to wash their hands and use hand sanitizers when they enter the pub and they seem fine with it."
Although business has been bad, it was not as bad as it could have been, said the pub co-owner.
The pub saw a 15 per cent drop in business within the last two weeks as a result of the virus spread.
However, he was surprised to see sales at his liquor store go up.
“Business-wise, we are down, but we’re not down as much as I thought we would be,” said Jensen.
He believes that people are buying from their store to drink at home to practice social distancing instead of drinking outside.
Meanwhile, the pub has been doing what they need to do to maintain a clean environment for the employees and customers especially around COVID-19 concerns, according to Jensen.
“We have hand sanitizer in the space, and we have staff sanitizing everything when customers leave.”
And when Jensen was asked about the new restriction, he said they have yet to figure out a system for the business.
“We’re going to have to re-adjust and figure (the restriction) out. Most of the time, I think we’re at around 50, but Friday, Saturdays and Sundays are a different story,” said Jensen.
-With files from Alan Campbell
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